In view of plans to reform Mental Health Act legislation to allow compulsory treatment in the community, we examined the views of service users about this form of care, and the most acceptable setting for its delivery. A cross-sectional survey of patients discharged from two in-patient units in West London over a 5-month period was carried out.
Half of the 109 respondents stated that compulsory treatment was justified under some circumstances; 103 people told us where they would prefer to receive compulsory treatment – 49 in their home, 41 in hospital and 13 in a community treatment centre. The most commonly stated reason for favouring home treatment was dislike of in-patient care.
Compulsory treatment in the community may provide a means of improving patient experiences of non-consensual care. However, a significant minority of service users would rather this form of treatment was restricted to in-patient units. Continuing efforts are required to improve patient experiences of in-patient care.